Summer break in the United States typically begins in late May or early June and ends in mid-August or early September. So, American children have about 8-9 weeks off from school. You might want take advantage of the less-structured time that summer may offer your family by participating in the 5210 Challenge – Summer Edition!
How Parents Can Help
Parents play an important role in shaping their children’s participation in healthy behaviors. Through support and behavioral modeling, parents can encourage their children to follow evidence-informed recommendations from groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education. 5210 Healthy (Military) Children is a health promotion campaign that offers a simple message to help parents learn how they can aid in supporting their children’s health. We’ve compiled a list of activities that your family can do to incorporate 5210 practices into your family’s summer fun!
What is 5210?
Consume 5 or more servings of fruits or vegetables each day.
Engage in 2 or fewer hours of recreational screen time each day.
Participate in 1 or more hours of physical activity each day.
Consume 0 sweetened beverages each day.
5210 Challenge – Summer Edition
Summer can be an opportune time to go outside and try a new activity or sport! Consider incorporating the healthy-behavior components of 5210 as you engage in different activities. Download the 5210 challenge calendar, and use the list below for ideas to make this summer your healthiest (and most fun) summer yet!
- Conduct a taste test of new fruits or vegetables.
- Go for a spin! Ride on a bike, scooter, or roller blades. Don’t forget to wear a safety helmet!
- Visit a park. Do you have a favorite in your area? Are you ready to try out a new one? Parks can be a free way to get in some outdoor fun!
- Go screen free all day! Check out Screen-Free Saturdays for some suggestions to get started.
- Do you have a green thumb? Plant some seeds, and track your plant’s progress by measuring its growth each week, or build a terrarium, and add ornamental items.
- Throw a dance party! Take turns selecting your favorite songs, and make up silly dance moves.
- Prepare a new healthy snack.
- Get crafty! Free classes may be available from hardware stores or craft stores in your area, or try this low-cost rock-painting activity.
- Go for a hike. In addition to getting fresh air and taking in nature, you could introduce your family to geocaching! Check out gov to find an outdoor space near you.
- Visit the local library. Many libraries offer a weekly story time or special events. Use a library finder to locate a library near you.
- Try out some water play! Go for a swim, turn on the sprinkler, or have a water balloon fight. Be sure to put on sunscreen if you’re participating during the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., which is when the sun’s ultraviolet rays are the strongest. Check out more sun-safety tips from Org
- Go on a night walk with flashlights or glow sticks.
- Play a board game. Pick one that you’ve never played before!
- Go on a picnic. A park, backyard, or even your front porch can serve as picnic locations. Check to see if your family is located near a free summer lunch site.
- Relax in on a comfy outdoor couch or chair, and read in the sun. Get outside, away from screens, and don’t forget the sunscreen!
- Challenge siblings or friends to a race. You can run, skip, hop, or even walk backward!
- Rethink your Drink! Challenge your family to drink only water or unsweetened beverages for a whole day, week, or month, and track your progress.
- Hold a Bike Rodeo. Invite family members, friends, and neighbors to join you.
- Go on a 5-senses walk. Notice what you see, hear, smell, feel, and taste!
- Challenge your family to a device-free
- Visit a u-pick farm or farmers market to gather fresh fruit. Use the USDA Local Food Directory to find a farmers market near you.
- Create an obstacle course. Challenge family members or friends to see who can get through the course the fastest.
- Go bowling! Kids can bowl for free this summer at select sites.
- Rainy Day? Try these quick physical-activity breaks
- Challenge each other to burn 100 calories in 10, 15, 20, or 30 minutes of exercise! We’ve put together a list of activities to get you started.
- Let’s play ball! Play a game that requires a ball (e.g., soccer, tennis, basketball, baseball).
- Chalk it up! Create art and play games like hopscotch, using sidewalk chalk. Remember to get permission first!
- Try some mindfulness strategies like deep breathing or yoga. Check out Breath to Thrive for some ideas.
- Let the kids cook! Parents take it easy while the children create a menu, set the table, prepare the food, and clean up. Cooking to Thrive offers many healthy suggestions.
- Create a scavenger hunt. Hunts can take place inside your house, in your neighborhood, or throughout your community!
Share your healthy behaviors challenge experience with us! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Use the hashtags #5210challenge and #5210summer to share photos of your activities, creations, and family fun.
5210 Healthy (Military) Children. (2023). 5210: Helping families lead healthier lives. Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness. https://5210.psu.edu/